Japan's Ryohei Kato won the AT&T American Cup men's gymnastics competition Saturday at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., taking advantage when Donnell Whittenburg of Baltimore struggled on the high bar, letting a nearly 1.6-point lead get away in the last event.
Kato's 88.931 total edged Whittenburg's by 0.366 of a point. Wei Sun of China took third.
"I knew I was in the lead heading intohigh bar, but I was just trying to focus on doing my high bar set," said Whittenburg, an Edgewood graduate who trains and lives in Colorado Springs, Colo.
He had a 13.300 on the bar, compared with 15.233 for Kato.
Whittenburg said he was largely pleased with his performance, which included first-place finishes in floor exercise (15.433), still rings (15.500), vault (15.266) and parallel bars (15.466).
"It will definitely help me in my consistency, and that's what I'm striving for right now, to hit sets as best as I can majority of the time," he said. "I just need to keep working on getting better."
He was especially happy with his finish in the parallel bars.
"I've been having troubles with that lately, and it felt great to go out there and hit that set," he said.
Kato whose only first-place finish came on the bar, said, "I didn't think I could come out on top [overall]."
On beating the top two Americans on U.S. soil, he said: "It's been a while since the Japanese have won the American Cup, so it was important to ride the momentum from worlds last year and put up a good showing."
Three-time U.S. champion Sam Mikulak slipped to fourth in his second major competition since recovering from a torn Achilles tendon.
"Whatever mistake I made, I'm going to go back in the gym and do it 100 times," Mikulak said. "I'm not going to beat myself up and let it bleed over to the next event."
The American Cup is the United States' most prestigious international invitational and part of the International Gymnastics Federation's all-around World Cup series.
American Gabrielle Douglas won the women's competition with a total of 60.165, nearly a half-point better than fellow American Maggie Nichols' 59.699. Canada's Elsabeth Black was third with 57.132.